tv Washington Journal CSPAN September 8, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EDT
his concern of the speech to public school children by the president and your e-mails and phone calls. "washington journal" is next. captioning institute ---www.ncicap.org--- [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] ♪ >> good morning and welcome to "washington journal" on tuesday september 8, 2009. congress goes back to work with the house and senate both in for legislative business and breast obama will speak to the nation's children in arlington, virginia televise theed at noon, eastern time. we will talk to the white house correspondent for the washington times and reporter for the "washington post". thanks for be with us. paul, what will we see as far as movement on the healthcare bills. >> sure. today, there are a series of
events we'll pay attention to. first of all, senate majority leader harry read and nancy pelosi are going to the white house today for a sit down, to talk about the next steps in overall fall agenda in particular healthcare. the sort of timing issues of when they can really start moving legislation. at the same time up here on the hill, i assume in the heart max balkus talking with the finance committee will sit down again today. this their first face-to-face sit down since they left five weeks back. it is very critical moment and we'll know coming out of that meeting, are these guys really still pushing forward on bipartisan talks and is chuck grassly deeply still involved or are the talks breaking a part. those are the two critical moments early this week.
obviously tomorrow night the president's big speech will set the sta table for the rest of t week. you'll know up thursday if republicans are still involved in the game and what the president is pushing for with specific things he wants in the bill. >> and kristen when the president talks what are you looking for tomorrow night? >> interest together say the white house is saying their not going to have their bill but he'll be specific about the things he wants and doesn't want but i'll look at the progressive democrats. i think this is an area that i don't necessarily buy the line president is losing his base but they want commitment to things he promise and the campaign trail and your seeing a lot of counter demonstrations and petitions from progressive works that are asking for the president so stand up for this
public insurance option or having it be part of the plan so, that's something i'll look for and also, the talks when they come out of the senate finance meeting, are they going to say it productive or actually, we really did make some progress here? we've heard a lot about a productive friendly discussion but not heard how much their moving forward. >> who are the people they're going to want to talk to out of the meeting to day? >> in terms of senate. chuck grassly your guest 8 o'clock this morning following us. he is a real critical player on this. i think republicans in the meeting. olympia snow of maine is a moderate and most the one most likely to support whatever they come up with. mike enzi the most conservative the white house probably feels
least likely to support something and then grassly the maverick conservative side. he's really faced some angry town hall constituents that didn't like the fact he worked with tell cats on this legislation and he said things that were blunt all over the map. at one point, he seemed to be trashing obama care as he called it. but then his spokeswoman would say we still want to finish this bill. that's probably the biggest player today. >> you think the white house will be looking for? >> think the senator snow is fascinating. been at the white house for events not tied to healthcare. one of the key republican votes on the stimulus bill and there were three republicans that voted for that. one is a democrat and you have her and susan colins and mike, the same thing. he's gotten heat from republicans back home saying why are you working so closely at
the president and at the same time taking shots at the president saying he doesn't support a lot of elements of the bill. i think it's suppose tbl white house many might try to shift the speech away from the healthcare. and then you have a lot of things coming up with financial regulatory reform and, g20 in pittsburgh. it's an opportunity for them to work out details and move forward on the economy. >> congress comes back to session today and other issues coming up. our guests are christina with the washington time and paul with the "washington post". join us by calling the numbers on your screen. we're also on twitter. there at c-spanw j and can e-mail journal at c-span dot org. what did we learn from the
president's speech in ohio. was this is a test run for what we might see tomorrow night? >> i doubt it. one of the things that struck me is it's very much a campaign speech. used the same language about the poor getting poorer and rich getting richer and went back to the fired up speech which was a pivotal moment for him that helped rally supporters. he had that crowd and i would not anticipate him doing that tomorrow night before congress but i think it's interesting to see how he continues to go back to the loyal supporters saying we need to have you stand with us on this. >> mary, from south carolina. >> good morning. hi. my question how i feel about when congress convenes again, i really don't believe the democrats going to have any possible chance with the republicans because you know, everything he do, they
criticize, and i will be really surprised to see if they cooperate in trying get healthcare through because of the fact that they're saying they can get him on this, they can ruin his political career. and i don't believe they're going to ever come to any agreement on healthcare. republicans would not work with him. so i would like for you to comment on that, thank you. >> well, i'll say i've heard this from a lot of democrats. we won the election and have huge majoritys why doesn't the president say not worry about the republicans but push through what we have and use tactics like reconciliation and that's something the republicans did successfully under president bush in his term. think president means it when he says he wants to push back but washington politics and you want something done in the agenda and support your supporters that worked hard for you, you might
have to do that. >> i think not to be lost in this is the problem with the own democratic party. the electoral success in 2006 and special elections in 2008 elections. they have grown so much but taken on a lot of people who come from really conversion verytv conservative districts. a senator is up for re-election in 2010. she's seen her approval numbers slipping in the next months tracking right along with the healthcare proposal and blank lincoln is hesitant in terms of supporting this legislation. so he needs to firm up support with them. those democrats, as much as he does to any republican right now. >> looking at the piece in the "washington post".
deeply divided house democrats are returning. they're in almost the same position when they left the capital. they're freshman lawmakers from su bur and progressives who are demanding the most far reaching reform since the great depression are still threatening to throw down the legislation if it does not do this. >> they left town on july 31st the house democrats did and had a game plan. script. they handed out these little 7 inch pog et cards for every member to keep inside their coat pocket to tell the constituents of what's it in for you and they all feel like they spent the last 5 1/2 weeks fighting over what wasn't in the bill.
the issue of whether death panels existed. the issue, and that, they lost this game in the last 5 1/2 weeks so they're kind of back where they started figuring how to kind of put this back together. >> i argue they lost it but here in washington. obviously the press core has to come for something and this is where we're focused on the angry town halls and i completely agree with that with jim moran. and i would say that fortunately for the white house and democrats in congress a lot of people didn't pay attention in august. people are getting their kids back to school. i think today people will really tune in and say what's really in this plan? let's listen and see what happens. >> john, calling on the republican line from north carolina. >> yes, ma'am.
i have a comment first of all, the nice lady said people won't support the president regardless of what they do. i think that's wrong. i think people want to support him but when they see him so far to the left it scares them and they don't want to go as fars to left. john of the "wall street journal" spoke to a group of steam boat a ten dees and said carter was elected as a central democrat and head administration from the left, well i think we're seeing that on mr. obama and he said history shows whenever someone is elected to the left, governs from the left it's a recipe of success for the republicans and lamar alexander on the fox news network said these legislators will deal with somewhat, if they don't respond to the sentiment of the american
public, that they've heard over the past weeks when they get back to congress, if they don't respond, they're going to experience amy any revolution and i think we're starting to see the american people wake up regarding on what's going on and i'm sure use, when they come back, do ya'll think all though the healthcare is the big trigger they're going to be taking care of, do you think the past town hall meetingings - the tone will come back up on the floor between the legislators? how aggressive or contentious you they that will be on the actual floor of the senate? >> one thing, i talked to representative eric canter and i asked him what he expected the republicans would do during the president's speech. they might boo or his or sit on their hands on-lines they don't disagree with from their parties perspective and he said no,
we're all listening intensively. from that end and same for paul. they love to be polite on capital hill. you might hear the overly nice people talking to each other. >> i don't know that's going to be the right forum in terms of sharp rebuke and i don't think you'll see the hissing and cat calling. this isn't question time in british parliament. but one thing that the caller hit on is, the issue of - the people that we were fixated on in the first couplele of weeks in august leading chants and protests in the town hall meetings. the key question for a lot of conservative democrats for people of the exact states from eastern ohio. a pretty conservative district. they're trying if i combur out whether or not those people at the town halls were part of the
big, broad movement and you know, where they're leading or where they're just sort of fringe people just sort of out there a year ago. sara palin a tracted people to her rallies that we were be trying as fringe characters that were kind of crazy. now in august, we're sort of portraying them as leading edge of a big movement if they can figure out which side of the coin those folks are, that could determine where this whole debate ends up. >> how do you figure it out? >> i think it is very complex member to member question. they'll measure the amount of mail they get. phone calls and e-mails they get. i think just try to spend - that's why the august break is a good one. it's almost 40 days long for house members so they had a lot of time. it was if they had one really
intense town hall meeting but a bunch of others that were really normal i think they'll begin to think these people are more part of a fringe set in my district. day after day after day. they were getting pounded, it's a different question. we talked to a woman of congress outside of pittsburgh. district stretched up to erie and she came up after 18 town hall meetings - not sure if she hit any this weekend but she came away saying, she was okay. she was more inclined to believe that healthcare reform should go at 75 percent of her constituents want some form of health care and a robust minority but a small minority. >> i've talked to members saying they're relieved to come back to washington to get away from some of that. not to mention some of these
campaign groups that are going to be town halls have been orchestrated where by big insurance companies. i think member cans see how strong the language was. >> roy from baltimore. how are you? >> hello. how are you? today. my question is, first off. that gentlemen that called, no, i don't believe that conversion verytives no matter what the president does, he can give them everything. they're just not going to go along with what- he wants. i disagree with that guy. what i'm calling about is the public option. a public option to me, is it actually what it say? given the option to either stay with my private insurance or to go with the government run plan? and if the case is if i lost my job, if i have insurance at my
job and i left my job and that insurance doesn't go with me, it's my understanding you go into like a pool where i get to pick something in that pool and obviously, if i didn't find anything that i wanted i would go into the government plan? is this what a public government option plan is? >> if terms of public option this is probably the most critical piece we'll tomorrow night. you know, you've got this idea that you could have a government funded insurance option that would go into this insurance exchange and it would compete against private insurers. liberals and progressives in the house and senate believe that you have to have this piece to the healthcare reform. without it, there is no reform because they believe this government funded option would drive down cost.
you would across the board have private insurers competing against the government non-profit entity and that would bring down costs. the conservatives are unanimously apposed to it. they believe what will then happen is private companies, will decide, well heck we're going to drop our coverage and just pay some small percentage of 8% or so of overall revenue and let the government take over their insurance and move those costs off their books. that's debate right now and you know, those folks right in the middle of this the sweet spot. the exact spaces of the world are trying figure out this out right now. they're hesitant to support that far reached. >> comments the president made in ohio about the public option. >> i see reform bringing stability and security to folks
that have insurance today. you never again have to worry about going without coverage if you lose your job or change your job or get sick, you got coverage there for you. where there's a cap on you're out of pocket expenses so you don't have to worry a serious illness will break you and your family even though you have health insurance. where you never again have to worry, where you never again have to worry that you or someone you love will be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. i see reform where americans and small businesses that are shut out of health insurance today will be able to purchase coverage at a price they can afford. where they can shop and compare in the new health insurance exchange. a marketplace where competition and choice will continue to hold down costs and help deliver them a better deal. and i continue to
believe that public option in that basket of insurance choices will help improve quality and bring down costs. >> yeah, i mean you listen to all the cheers he got when he said that. i think he has a lot of people on his back and a lot of progressive point out poles that people understanding what the public policy is, they actually support it. he may explain that further tomorrow night but also you have to answer the callers question. my understanding is one of the things people agree on is making healthcare portable so if you do lose your job you can take your plan with you and i think that's something people do get behind right now. >> from chicago, illinois. >> how you doing? i was calling around first of all i know there was existing committee bills in the house and senate and i wanted to know, are those still in play or have we pushed a reset button in terms
of starting over and i know that still hashed out. if there are existing, if we're going with the committee bills, which one has the most promise of actually going forward? also i wanted to know, i know there was also talk about a scale bound version where there might be a less another amount of votes needed in order to pass something closer to 50 as apposed to 60 votes and what is that still into play also and then my last point is, with the late senator passing, us that bring anything to the evoke more of a spirit around bipartisan ship if that exists around doing, getting this done finally? >> the, thank you for the question. the bill in the house is known as, redcon $3,200. that's three different
committees work accomplishment. three different committees, education and labor committee. the energy and commerce committee and house ways and means. they all have different pieces of the same bill and now leadership is cobbling it together putting it in one big package. there can still be revisions made to the bill and public plan is one of those areas that people are talking about trying tweak it possibly. and also the tax provisions that were set out in terms of paying for it. that is, that is something that they hope to bring to the floor and within a couple of weeks, hopefully by early october at the latest, over on the senate side, that's where we're back at the finance committee because the finance committee was supposed to do its version of the bill that would then be taken with the health committee and merge those two together. it was called seem lesley was
what harry reed told us weeks ago. those two bills have taken such different looks and presences that it's going to be a very interesting process trying figure out which of the two gets more into the final senate bill. um... one of those two bills was written by the staff of senator kennedy that passed away a couple of weeks ago after along bat will brain cancer. at the time, it was talk that this would be a moment that would cause people to you know, think really long and hard about bipartisan ship and what it all means. the reality is healthcare is so big, it is such a big issue, it confronts every member. every member has constituents. senator kennedy's passing, did not have any sort of effect that
impacted a republican or moderate democrat. what it probably did, was it cooled the temperature of the debate. we had this moment where all of the sudden we know longer had screaming constituents and fearful democrats running from the screaming constituents. there was a week long mourning of kennedy and that changed the tone. >> i think you'll see this week a lot of senators take the floor so i would imagine you get a hot of people giving this long passionate tributes. but that might kind of bring that feeling a bit. >> does that resonate with the american public or legislators? >> maybe. i doubt it because i'm cynical in washington, but it's possible. so many people tuned out that they might be looking at the tributes where if they didn't when he actually passed away. >> and reconciliation. how is it really on the table
still, who would that work for and who would fight it hard? >> it's you know reconciliation is a process by which they use special rules for budget issues and by using those rules, they're not allowed to filly buster. would be a simple 50 vote minimum for democrats and joe biden can break any tie taciting vice president. it is a dangerous path to go because it's those very partisan, which you know, goes against everything that christina spent a lot of time on the campaign trail with barack obama and it would be apart san move and more importantly, these rules only a huh apply to certain pieces of the legislation. this - the things that president
barack obama likes to talk about these days. the portability of the legislation would probably get knocked out of the bill and they would have to try to come back and do a second piece of legislation to try to make the whole - it really become as humpty dumpty moment and i'm not sure all the president's men can printh back together. >> very messy. i think you'll get a lot of americans saying process fall. but what about the party in line and telling democrats look, vote for culture that prevents the filly buster and you can do what you want on the final passage of the bill. do you see harry reed getting tougher on that? >> that might be the final saving grace is you can go to ben nelson's of nebraska or the ben lincolns and say this first vote is your vote for the party, your vote for the presidency, just a vote in order to invoke
in culture and then there's a couple of days later a final vote on the actual legislation and in that case, you know they could probably do it because they would have at least 59 if they had all 59 democrats. olympia maine is likely to join them if they allowt senator to replace kennedy that person could be in place by early october. you could be up to 61. >> shirley from newcastle, pennsylvania. >> good morning. what i would like to make a few points here. people in the united states, and i have been watching these town hall meetings, in the united states people are sick and tired of government telling us how to live our lives.
they need to do what their suppose to do. voted in office to take care of federal and take care of back part of the government. tell us okay, now you, your healthcare is going to change. we're going to have a plan where everyone is going to be included except all of us. your all going to be put into one barrel and we'll tell you what doctors you can go to and what hospitals if any and when you can get an appointment. we don't need the government running our healthcare. we don't need the government, they've already taking over the automobile industry and over the banking industry. now they want to take over our healthcare? >> one thing i would say, president president barack obama would respond saying i don't want to be in the government run
healthcare business. we've already took on the automanufacturer to try and help with the economy and obviously what you mentioned with the banks but he's really going to try on wednesday night to combat that. that's not what the proposal is and while there's this element with the public insurance option that would be government run you have medicare and a lot of people like that program so you will here president barack obama talk about that. some of the battles he's had and some of those happening in the past with social security and medicare getting this through and he'll try to explain how it's not government - bureaucrats making the choices for you. >> that caller sort of summed up what the members felt back in their districts though that it was, this was all being tied together and you know, a year ago, roughly right about now, federal government took over fanny and freddie mac. a couple of days later they
injected 80 billion into aig and then let lehman bros. close and said we need 700 billion for the rest of the financial industry. that sets the table for a series of events to take us to, today and there is this sense of people, well there is a large amount of government involve meant in the private economy and now healthcare is the thing that hits everybody. everybody has to go to a doctor or hospital. everybody has someone that's struggled with end of life issues and that's really, they've really touched a third rail here. through new our guests are paul cane with the "washington post" and christina with the washington times. they're with us for the rest of the hour. william calling from andrews, north carolina. >> good morning. i saw president barack obama on t.v. a while back and he said,
if we wanted to what his policies were, that we could see who he surrounded himself with. well he surrounds himself with czars and one of them quit in the middle of the night on sunday and heard nothing about it from any of the newspaper or cb s&nbc or abc and glenn beck on fox news, and there's more czars in there that's radicals. people had better - wheres the press been? >> well as reporter that had to write that story at 12:10 am late saturday night when the release came out that van jones re-assigned it did get covered. it got lost in the holiday weekend a bit and came in a point where many newspaper put the sunday papers to print. it ended up in a monday labor day edition.
it did get talked about and czars is an area of concern and you have even congressional democrats talking about. it senatorbird familiar with it saying the president is kind of going around congress to put people close to him, but president president barack obama refers to his cabinet a lot and has really experienced hands and people that can help him especially through the healthcare fight to show him what happened the clinton years and where mistakes where is made. he may even address that tomorrow night because one of the mistakes clinton's made was presenting congress with their bill and it didn't work that way. president barack obama did hands off. my principals and well that probably wasn't the best strategy either. he may even talk about that and say here's where we can go forward and actually get something done. >> think that's what he's walking that sort of tight rope
trying figure out how details can he be without irritateing the left. without irritateing the moderates. it really is a tight rope and i can go into 7 different cliches or make or break moment but it is any move to the left, and up top 25 to 30 democrats that don't like what he said. any move or tilt to the right against public option and up top 40 progressive democrats demanding something like that be in the bill. it's a very tricky game tomorrow night. >> recent piece in time magazine that's called prairie revolt. talked about the fear and anger but also fear. are you hearing that from other lawmakers coming back to town? what does the president have to do to elate those fear?
>> i think the answer - the fear part is the economic anxiety. that moment of you know, what have we actually done in the last year? when you ited a it up and have take overs of fanny and freddy. 7 hundred billion injected banks and take over of gm and chrysler and now people are trying - losing their jobs and healthcare is a real issue. there's fear across the board and you know, one of the great things, one of the crazy things about washington is it's usually easier to kill big legislation than it is to get it passed. fear is always a motivating factor in doing that. we went through this four years ago when president bush wanted to reform social security system and democrats basically set out to do the same thing, and person
leading that effort for democrats was max buckas, the senator trying bring healthcare together. his chief-of-staff was the point man for leadership in helping kill that. he's now deputy chief-of-staff to president barack obama in the white house. >> it's worth mentioning some of the fear did come from parts of country that didn't support president barack obama. they - now that he's taking government this the direction he said he would, people are anxious about that. you have to be understanding but at the same time they have to understand he was elected by the popular majority and will get most of his agenda passed. >> bob from massachusetts. >> good morning. thank you for having me and it's pleasure listening to you folks. and we just talked about fear. i'm calling on a democratic line because i voted straight democratic this last election
for the simple reason i felt it was time which is what makes america so great time for a pendulum swing. a lot of people will talk about the president. we either voted for mccain or for president barack obama. i don't think that anybody voted for glenn beck or rush limbaugh. and yet, their voices as erratic as they are, are determining what this is all about. um... it's they keep talking about nazis and communists and leftist and all those little trigger issues that fright energy people but the thing is, what's very sad about it, i find that if you listen to a rush limbaugh the following day, not the day before but the following day half of the republic party is mouthing the same garbage and rhetoric that comes out of his
mouth. we've heard senators and congressmen using the terms nazi and death panels. this is very fright energying for this country. we have political systems. we don't need to be march together the script of the alcoholics and drug addicts. this is what people are doing. they're taking their advice from people who really are a little bit more than fringe element. they're really not interested in what's good for america. and i hope you can hear not the fear but the concern in my voice because it really is tragic what's happening to this country. >> i've heard a lot from people on both sides of the political spectrum talking about that being concerned about the wrach energying up of the rhetoric. some of the people you thought some of the town halls were very angry.
had some violent eruptions and i think probably president obamaly say we need to take a step back. i interviewed a consultant that said his advice for tt would be this could be my waterloo or the issue you want to defeat me on to win back the house in 2010. don't do for that. the if you disagree with the healthcare vote against it but don't do it for me. i think he's always sending the message saying look evaluate the own merits. people will do the political choice but he'll ask people to do that. if american people hear it they might put that from what we heard so much of. >> to the caller's point about glenn beck and rush limbaugh there has been the republicans
sort of are so wiped out the last couple of years there really has been sort of a vacuum created in terms of leadership. they don't have really prominent leaders at this point who set the sort of, pr agenda and because of that, you know glenn beck and limb bow have only seen their ratings go up and their voices with all the different medium we have in order to get that out between twitter and all of the other things. it's those guys have seen arise in the own stature. >> comment from twitter. one of the listeners or viewers wrote is president barack obama going to keep one promise. tax caps, war, transparency, healthcare reform? the president's record as far as keeping promises? >> i think it's moving right
along. obviously guantanamo bay. he issued an order it will close by that date but it's more complicated than that's everybody predicted it would be. he's got task force and everybody evaluated that. as far as troops he does have a time to withdrawal from iraq and he's sending more to afghanistan like he said he would. transparency is another great example. on friday the white house said they're going to post visitors logs. they're going to be be releasing them and at the end of this year and they're going to do that going forward. those are excellent things from a media and citizen perspective you should be glad about the transparency but there's certainly elements they're not keeping transparent as well. i think it's all in the works. >> hick son, tennessee.
>> good morning. please give me time enough to say what i want to say please ma'am. yes, ma'am. are you there? medicare is a government run health thing. it's going broke or is it broke. then you'd have a public option that's run by the government so you'd have two government plans run by the government and what i want to say is, i worked all my life for dupont and they wants the government option, and i called my insurance company at et in n etna. and they want it too. so my wife and i will end up losing our insurance, our private insurance and there's no - that's facts. how could you have medicare run
by the government and then the public option run by the government and then all of the sudden your private insurance wants it and you and your wife or family will be out of the private insurance. it needs to be stopped. i know ya'll both up there from the times and post are ya'll definitely for the man in the white house, but come on, be fair and honest with the public because- >> um... the insurance companies, most of the insurance companies are in a sort of dance right now where they can't decide what to do in terms of this legislation. their hesitant to endorse a robust public option. they don't want an a public option that the progressives like max in border wants which would be tied to medicare payment rates and they feel that
would be a very unfair competitor to them. there has been a lot of anxiety in the insurance industry but you haven't seen them po go out and do a full pledged campaign to kill this, the way they did in 1994 to the clinton proposal. >> and i think also you have to look at the budget numbers. these are very important questions. how is all this paid for and does it actually bring down costs? one thing i think the budget gurus will talk about is the fact that the united states pays so much when it comes to uninsured people right now that's huge tax burden so if you do reform these in the right way you could actually save money but proving that to the american people and get them to support this is a much different thing. it's all a possibility and projection. >> did, david from texas.
>> all these right wingers. when bush, 6 hundred million dollars cash to iraq and then we showing all the other [inaudible] and the news media. how can ya'll even talk to medical. you take all the full page advertisements and don't want to see the insurance change. the television shows all the advertisements 50 time as dayton medical stuff. and then, you show all these right wing, where were you? you never showed the pink lady, all the democrats marching against the war. you never showed none of that? >> i mean i do think there's criticism to be had of the media generally in the way these things are covered. one of the reasons i love c-span is it gets so much into the policy and you can see people
talking about something. but i do think that is an area where you've got to have the full bill and proposal out there and then people can get down and explain exactly what will do and evaluate and compare it to example the spending on the iraq war or the bush tax cut and look at how that helps the economy or hurts the economy and how kind of where this healthcare legislation can go from there. >> susan calling from north rich land hills texas. >> i couldn't agree with this last caller more. all this would be rather funny if it wasn't so sad for our nation. we have a president that's trying do something, and you know all this ignorance going around, um... when bush wanted to go into iraq i made a comment to a coworker that, you know if i had studied it.
studied the history of the area and said i really don't think we need to be going in there and i was told i wasn't a christian. this is the same rhetoric, keep it going. i want to make another comment if you would let me please. i want to make two. my family has had big issues with healthcare. i had employ based for years. i'm over 65, i'm now on medicare. it's the best i've had and it's government run but another thing i want to mention. i was in i was at fort steward outside of fort steward last week trying to find housing for my granddaughter that married a young soldier. i've never seen such filthy nasty things offered for these young soldiers. it was unbelievable. and i think some of these radical idiots want to get on to
something they need to go to the bases and see how these kids are living. >> stories like that have also dominated the town halls for democrats in the last five weeks. they have come away convinced they need to do something and they're going to be told by their leadership doing nothing is the worst case scenario politically that it will completely energy power republicans so there's support for doing something, some sort of healthcare legislation. it's going to be - and that is really broad based throughout the house democrat caucus. just an issue of trying figure out the pieces of the puzzle that's gets them to the majority. >> stephen from bakersfield, california. >> good morning. very simple answer to all of this. making november, 15 million or
so people voted for president barack obama and believe in the socialist vision for america or whatever. if each of those people had a box on their tax form where they could check off a box, where they could adopt somebody uninsured. somebody that's not working or on welfare. there's more than enough of them to believe this is a human right where they could su their conscious and pay for people's insurance and government would not have to mess with ours. >> interesting proposal. i think that one area and we mentioned this earlier. are looking at social security and medicare that are very popular programs and which took a lot of political fight together get them passed and i think you will definitely hear that from the white house. they've been ramping that up throughout the white house. really looking at that and showing, i can understand why people are hesitant about this and why people don't necessarily
trust the government and all the bail outs. here's how it can work. and just looking at is healthcare right? the democrats have not exactly gone out there and pel spelled t right. healthcare is a right and should you explain why everybody in america should have it? i'm not sure they did that before talking about death panels or all these hot buttons issues before explaining the principle. >> they got caught up in cost and you hear the president using phrase, bending the cost curve. somebody told me last week, here's his one bit of advice is don't use that phrase anymore. people have no idea what it means and get back to basic principals. >> president talks to american school children and c span will
broadcast that live at noon. this got a lot of reaction out of conservatives when the education announced the president would be talking to students. christina tell us where things are at now and some of the folks that criticize it now have backed down a bit. >> you heard complimentary words from newt gingrich saying this is the right thing. i read through it this morning before i game here to have it fresh on my mind and, you know he does what they said he would. it's very much a stay in school, don't let your country down by dropping out of school and set personal goals. i think president barack obama has very passionate personal feelings about. he obviously grew up in a home without a father and dealing with being a black man and he was able to work hard and a schooef a lot of great things in
his life and i think he'll talk about that and he's got a line in there about, jk roland and the author of the harry potter series and how she failed before becoming successful. just he might even mention the controversy. president shown he thinks children can handle a little bit of explaining them things. not going to get the political side of it but might elude to it and did even yesterday in the speech. >> i don't think he'll use this as a moment to say, hey tell mom and dad to call your congressman and tell them to support the healthcare legislation. this is a side of president barack obama that remains popular. he is a popular person that people still do look up to and he has this ability to inspire in sort of a nonpartisan way and
that's message that republicans like newt gingrich will say that's fine. >> for all the controversy. the party chairman said he wasn't going to send his kids to school but for all that controversy i said several people saying where can i waf this. kids want to see the president no matter what he said and past presidents have done the same. >> caller from manhattan. david. >> hi. how are you? yeah. basically, well, i'm listening to a whole bunch, basically the whole entire government issues is set up by the media. that's what president barack obama is a creation of. as an independent voter. that strong hillary clinton campaign, i voted for mccain.
the bottom line is when you hear the way the media sets this up with the town hall meeting, i mean, america is a left country. you have a whole bunch of white people out there saying i want my country back. when you hear all the old white folk at the town hall meetings. basically when you hear the word socialism you hear the word negro and puerto rican. i ain't taking orders from no negro and i don't want no supreme court justice that's puerto rican. that's what it comes down to. >> this is the first time i've heard hillary clinton's name. she was looked at as face of healthcare for a long time. and one of their biggest prices was about healthcare because hillary clinton wanted to mandate that everybody have
insurance and president barack obama changed his mind and said, well one question i've asked the white house and they have said we're not getting into fr priva conversations but have they talked to the clintons. what kind of conversations are they having to avoid some of the mistakes and have they fallen right back into the name calling and labels? every time you hear it called obama care it's like, wow what decade are we in. >> west virginia? jeff? >> hi. i'm jeff. i just wanted to post a comment. i had insurance with a health plan here and it's really good bits expensive. had it back when i was married and i was doing on cobra but i didn't have a lot of money and
that was ten or 15 years ago. as time went on i tried to get other insurance as i was working for a guy and he said, you can still get it but it's 8 to 900 a month and you go for 8 or 9 months and then if there's nothing wrong with you because i've had cancer they'll give you insurance for $500 a month and i'm thinking, my income is like 20,000 a year so i'm thinking 900 dollars a month. that's half of what i make and i'm think together myself. people are saying i have my insurance and i'm not going to let, we don't want you to get government involved. any time they do it improves the situation. >> the legislation that is coming together in the house and senate would for somebody making $20,000 a year, you would be getting some sort of this is the fight. what kind of assistance is it
from the federal government? you would get a boost from the federal government that you could go into this insurance exchange and be buying insurance you know, maybe from a government funded public option. or a private ensurer, back caller would get some sort of insurance and in this new proposal. >> let's go to kevin from pennsylvania. >> good morning folks. my thing is i think the country is dealing with a trust issue when it comes to fear. it's trust from the government. if you remember nafta was supposed to be a great savior for this country and supposed to bring jobs and more competition but her shey chocolate factory moves to mexico. it's a way of saying screw you
americans. we can't compete with people making $2.00 a day. you have 1 $100 mart dpaj you have to make the money to pay that. i bring it down to a trust issue. another thing for the politicians. if they want to exempt themselves from the healthcare plan that's what they do, they exempt themselves for things so if it's so wonderful you participate in it sirs and madames. i'm sick and tired of our government trying say they're doing the right thing but in the long run it's a matter of trust. i have no trust for the politicians thank you. >> that's one thing we talked about campaign promises and that's one of president barack obama's biggest promises on the campaign trails is end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and that's a lot of angle ns this country and that's something we have not really seen addressed. the stimulus was not exactly
what they wanted. i think that you may end up hearing that addressed down the line to keep jobs in the united states. >> you know, a president barack obama discovered being president doesn't mean you get to run everything. you still have to deal with 5.25559 different personalitys in the white house and it's a slow moving process trying get the applause line on traded a min administration and those provisions have different people that support them. it's tough on that level of trust. >> and finally, briefly. what else will we watch to see what happens over the next couple of week? this whole conversation has been mostly about healthcare? >> the energy legislation. obviously with senator kennedy
passing away you have another big element going through, but actually has turned out to be fairly unpopular and a lot of members are getting hit back in their district and senate will consider some major changes to energy policy that i think you'll see more on that. >> um... one sort of wild card in all of this is they're going to have to do the appropriations bills. the house - the bills that fund the federal government the 12 of them, the house has passed their share and senate is passing theirs and those will contain billions of dollars of these little things known as earmarks that congressional prerogatives on spending. president barack obama has been an an only of that and that can be a big fight between them and congressional democrats. it could be an interesting side fight that kicks up in about three to four weeks. >> and will he get it done on
time? a big criticism of all congresses? >> they'll definitely punt and have to pass a resolution to keep the government open and it'll probably be november before they get around to it. >> "washington post" congressional reporter and the washington times white house correspondent. thanks so much to both of you. coming up next is senator charles grassly and later on in "washington journal". the cato institute. now a newspapers update from c-span radio. >> more on the speech today. education in an interview earlier on msnbc said someone aired in suggesting students compose letters to be supportive of the presidents policy goals. adding the guidance was in his words, not worded perfectly correct. the secretary says the most
critical issue is to reverse what has become a 30 percent high school drop out rate. top financial in london have agreed to reign in bonuss for banking executives and obtain stimulus measures to boost the global economy. the group open the government dot org consisting of 75 interest groups say president president barack obama's policies of secrecy have made stride since president bush on interrogation policies in the last administration and more openn se & under of the . those are some of the latest headlines of c-span radio. . . .no carrierringno carrierringco2
president speed it up with his speech. senator baucus feels like the finance committee could announce something on friday and he could attempting to gather for consideration. we are meeting at 2:30 this afternoon to see if that can be a bipartisan proposal or not. bipartisan would be the six of us agree to something, but of course, bipartisanship is not three republicans and, let's say, 58 democrats. we need a broad correlation of people who will be supporting it. i do not say that because it is a need in itself, a broad coalition, and there are some things that could be cited with republicans and democrats, that we are talking about restructuring 1/6 of the economy and health care. senator baucus and i have been talking this year that we ought
to do that with 75, 80 votes, not just 60. host: let's take a listen to the, that president obama made yesterday. >> i have a comment for everyone who is saying we are going to pull the plug on grandmother, we are going to pay for illegal immigrants. i have a question for all those folks what are you going to do? what is your answer? what is your solution? and you know what? they do not have one. their answer is to do nothing. >> this is an easy answer because for a long period of time there has been four, five
republican plans -- than there were three republicans working with three democrats, hopefully a bipartisan plan. there is another bipartisan plan so presidents -- republican would be on record of supporting plan. it has some controversial things in it, but it is evenly balanced. it is the only version on the table, unless our version comes out this way, that is deficit neutral, and also reduces inflation in health care. those two things not adding to the deficit and reducing health care inflation are the two most immediate goals that any plan should have. whereas the president is talking about what is coming from his party, because they are partisan, coming from christopher dodd's committee --
the cbo says that they add to the deficit and does not do anything about health care inflation. so what is the point of doing anything? if you want to get what is happening at our town hall meetings, democracy at work, people are scared to death about the deficit. that is not just about health care, it is just the straw that broke the camel's back. it is really the stimulus not working. the federal government shoveling out money and nationalizing and general motors. a budget that tripled the national debt. and then you hear about $1 trillion health care bill coming from the house committee, and you know, they come out in droves of the town hall meetings because they are fearful that we
are not going to leave the country in good shape for the next generation. host: the situation of so-called pulling the plug on grandmother has got a lot of attention. do you think that is adding to the fear in the country? is it being correctly used? guest: there are other people higher up in the hierarchy that used that, and it was wrong. if it was wrong for him, it was wrong for me. if you listened to my statement, you would think that i was giving a speech, and blaming the whole issue. then some newspaper said something about sarah palin. sarah palin said that, presumably, before i said it, about that the panels. so i was in a town hall meeting
in iowa and a person stands up -- like you could stand up now, and get a copy of the house bill from the internet. what it says is well intentioned. host: you are talking about end of life counseling. guest: yes, i do not agree with how they are doing it, but it was nothing new for me to say i do not want the government involved. i want the families involved. i answered it that way. if you connect several doffed, you have a concern about -- dots, you had a concern about saving money, concern over a government-on health care plan, and then you have the veterans administration putting of a book saying that everyone needs to do with the end of life issues who is in that situation.
put all of that together, and frankly, between government running everything and paying a doctor to give that advice, everyone figures that the government will be in the middle of the end of life issues, as they are in england, for example. host: next phone call from georgia. caller: i work in health care and i have heard people say that we do not get health care -- we do not turn anyone away at my hospital, whether you have insurance or not. how come we need to have government to run it? why not have legislation that makes insurance companies responsible for covering the uninsured. i have been told that my premiums are high as they are because they go to cover the uninsured, to offset that.
i do not always want to turn to the government. insurance companies are making a lot of money. i know that i have used very little of my interest but i pay my premiums every month. that is my concern. our government is broke, why do we want to put more debt on it? guest: several things you say is accurate. -- are accurate. you are right, the emergency rooms provide coverage for everyone, and it is a very expensive form of medicine. that brings us around to the fact that we do not want the government to run it -- i should say, i do not want the government to run it, and that is why i am against the public
option. there are other possibilities out there, like one congresswoman saying we needed a public option for those of us who wanted to go to canadian- style single payer. that is why i am against single payer because i do not want the government to nationalize health insurance. you need to continue to talk the way that you have because there are a lot of people in congress who do want the government to run it. i am working to prevent that. what we do to solve the problem of expensive health care through the emergency room is to move the people who do not have insurance, with some help, through a tax credit, into a private insurance. so they have a choice.
whereas, if you are under a government-run system, you have no choice. guest: let's talk about some alternatives to -- host: let's talk about some alternatives. in a public option exchange -- there is a public option exchange. guest: i think senator snowe is working very hard to find some middle ground probably the most where she finds middle ground -- middle ground without having anything to worry about. there would be a backup plan, a trigger. i believe that will be interpreted by everyone as just a step away from public option, one more step away from canadian everything. so i cannot support the trigger.
in response to co-ops, yes. if they are like the other co- ops that we have run in the country for 150 years, governed by the consumer, and all the benefits flow to the consumer -- in the case of health insurance cooperatives, they would be regulated by the state's, the same way any insurance company is regulated. then i think that is a reasonable alternatives. i do not think it is absolutely necessary, but is a political issue you are trying to deal with. the reason i say it is not necessary -- there are two principles that would put an end to our tent to get a bipartisan plan. you do away with the discrimination of pre-existing conditions. you make premiums affordable for everyone.
you do not have caps on what can be paid out. then the other one is affordability. so we have tax credits for people who cannot afford it. if you want everyone covered -- and that means 96% of the people. someone is going to play the game. the bottom line is, why you need a public option if we are already covering everyone? host: barbara on the democrat line from washington. caller: good morning. how is everyone? thank you for c-span. i just do not understand why people are against helping all
americans. my son had three heart surgery's before he does two years old. i had to quit my job to take care of him. we could only afford to put him on cobra, which was $356 a month, back in 1988. then use the rest of our money to pay the bills. that came to about $10,000. all of our savings. we have never caught up. we have been struggling ever since. guest: well, i think what our bipartisan plan would do is, first of all, if you are denied insurance because of your boys pre-existing condition, we would do away with that. you have low premiums and high premiums, sometimes 30 times difference.
we would make those premiums more affordable for everyone. in the case where you had so many surgeries, maybe you have a cap that the insurance company has that they will pay for one person. we would do away with that as well. copays can mount up to a lot. there could be a limit on that. but we are trying to do it is reform health insurance, but at the same time, we are not just trying to say health insurance companies have to absorb this by increasing everyone's premiums when you have so many millions of people who are giving tax credits to be injured. obviously, there will be more people under the umbrella and you will spread the risk of two people who are not under the plan today, and we on to do that
in a private sector way. buying health insurance of their choice because there will be in exchange to go to to get all of the programs available and compare prices, a consumer- friendly sort of exchange. reforming the private insurance companies. then in the case of you, you had to quit your job. there would be some help through the tax credit. host: we have had very on the independent line. calling from new mexico. caller: i find this to be extremely complicated, just like your answer to that particular persons question. it is also complicated. the democratic and republican plan.
personally, i do not like the health-care system at all and want to choose the way i want it. i would not go to the emergency room because the cost is so high. i voted for obama because he said he did not want to mandate the system and now it seems the republicans and democrats want to go into a mandated system. first of all, i feel like the health-care system itself is broken, not the insurance for it. guest: well, there is a lot about what you say, no doubt. some of the things that you say are complicated are also controversial, and you mention them all. what you said at the end, the health care system is broken, not health insurance -- a lot of the thing that the legislation does that does not get much
attention because it is not so controversial is meant to help the health-care system. for instance, reimbursement of doctors under medicare based on quality, rather than quantity. every time he sees you, he gets paid. this is an effort toward a six system, as opposed to a health system. we want the business on preventive medicine, reimbursing doctors based on quality instead of quantity -- let's say pay for performance. we do not pay attention to the five malady that eat up 75% of the health care dollars. for instance, diabetes. we want coordinated care systems to monitor them.
we have had several people testified from mayo, hospitals in pennsylvania, organizations that do coordinated care. we have a group in cedar rapids, iowa that does that. you've enhanced coverage can save money. these all all efforts to do what you say, to change a health care system that is broken, not the health insurance business. although we are going to make some changes in insurance, as i said before. host: you have made some predictions about a scaled-back version of the health care bill. what would that look like, and would initiate from your committee? guest: the document senator baucus put out would not fall into the category.
it is about $900 billion. i was hoping for something in that $700 billion range would work. we are going to talk about these things this afternoon, so i do not draw any lines in the sand. the reason i came out with something around $700 billion, it seemed that we have offset that were fairly easy to arrive. we do not want to add to the deficit. another thing is, i think i have heard some of my colleagues responding to democracy at work, these town hall meetings. i had a 17 of them in my state, 12 in just the last week. for instance, i get a message from those meetings, the
deliberate, slowdown. how can you spend $1 trillion when you have all of this deficit? people do not realize that a lot of that money is saving money within health care through some of these reforms we are talking about. this is not $1 trillion in new money, but that is not the way that it comes out in the press. so everyone thinks it is trillions upon trillions. where rent my goal and senator baucus'goal is not to add to the deficit. host: next phone call from jonathan. co ahead. caller: thank god for c-span. how long have you been a member of the congress? guest: this is my fifth term. caller: so 30 years, correct?
and when was the last time you had to decide whether you were going to buy food or health care for your children? your salary is about eight times with the average american banks. to be honest, you live in a bubble and does not realize what the average american goes through. guest: you asked me in the last time. 1961 through 1970 when i was a member of the international association of machinists. i was a furnace maker in iowa and i spent 10 years putting screw holes in furness registers. in that time i have to worry about whether i was going to buy food or other things. that was two jobs that i had at that time. host: did you struggle with
health care, insurance at that time? guest: i was like a lot of early 20, 30-year old people. i never thought i was going to get sick and i did not need insurance. he'd been no my company had a plan for us to join, i think i was not covered for about seven years out of the 10 years that i was there. if you are working where they have health insurance, and you or 20, 30 years old, and you never think you are going to get sick, maybe that is true. but if you have the chance to get injured, you should do so. about 30 million people out of the 50 million who do not have insurance fall into that category. host: we have david on the democrats' line. georgia.
caller: senator grassley, when are you republicans going to care as much for the citizens as you do for big business? insurance companies -- many people are going broke that have insurance. 700,000 bankruptcy's a year are from people who have insurance. the insurance companies will not pay. i have a little sister who is in debt $27,000 and as united healthcare. guest: those are all good questions. first of all, i would advise anyone in the state of iowa that as having trouble paying two things. one, congressional offices do not have control over private insurance companies but if you could get your congressman to write a little for you, if you are entitled to something from
your company, and you are not getting it, you ought to try that. we also have to the insurance commissioners in the state that are supposed to be there for people who are not being delivered the promises of insurance, whether it is life insurance, casualty insurance, or health insurance. the most difficult thing to answer is the political question you brought up. when a republican going to be concerned about this? i am a republican, what do you think i am doing working with senator baucus to come up with a bipartisan plan to solve all of these problems? we have discussed all of these problems with other colors so i will not go into them. as i said on cnn this morning, if they would report on things, bipartisan and partisan plans, there are republican plans.
since they are in the minority, four plans from republican members are not getting any publicity. cnn promised me they would start talking about them. i was on there this morning, so i know i can say that. john roberts told me so. there is another bipartisan plan that is very thorough and thought out. where you get the impression, where you are from, that congressional members are not concerned about helping people who are not injured, i do not know where you are coming from. there are plenty of plans available. somehow, the press, being bent toward the liberal side, only wants to give attention to the democrats' plans.
that is why i think c-span is very fair in what they are trying to do, and my town hall meetings, like the one we are having now, is important for enhancing democracy. i would like to think c-span for offering a fair point of view. host: next phone call from scuffed bill, virginia. caller: center, you said earlier that people were fearful because the health-care issue was related to matters of life and death. doesn't that put it in the national defense arena? thank you. guest: this came from a town hall meeting. people would say, there is one thing the federal government has to do because only the government can do it, national defence. because no other level of government can do it, and it is
a constitutional responsibility of the government. some of the same people brought up, we're in the constitution does it say that the government should be dealing in health care? so there is a real difference of opinion of their, to the person from virginia, about whether or not the federal government should be doing this. host: steve on the republican line from maryland. caller: senator grassley. i have been involved with medicare as an insurance broker for over three years. years ago the federal government had unified all of the medicare supplements, so plan a is planned a, wherever you purchased it. why can't we leave the public option out and allow congress to
mandate several plans that all insurance companies throughout the country must carry. then by allowing to purchase across state lines will simply lower the cost. the reason is, if everyone can purchase, let's say, plan b of a program designed by congress and the insurance companies, and all the benefits are equal, the only thing the people will have to look at is the cost of the policy. guest: these are very good digestion that you gave to us. the only one that is controversial to do with, and i support when you say about telling across state lines, but there is a partisan difference on that. on the other things that you mentioned, there is not a partisan difference. the extent to which we set up
exchanges, consumer-friendly exchanges, where every plan is on the exchange, so people can exchange plans would what costs -- we are less-restrictive than you suggested what we did on medicare 20 years ago. we do have four different options but each one is not restricted entirely by the government what can be in it. we do not want to be that restrictive, as we were and supplemental insurance. within these four values, different plans have different approaches to meet the needs of different consumers in america.
we have 177 people -- million people in america who have insurance through the private sector. those 177 million people have 177 million different needs, so we do not want to be too strict. but actuarial value need to be met at four levels. host: next phone call from new jersey, democratic line. caller: i have a couple of questions. a minute ago you said it was 1971 the last time you have to worry about providing food for your family. callerguest: let me explain whyd that. prior to that i was making $50. then i was elected to congress
and i doubled my income. caller: cerf, since that time, health insurance premiums have gone up about 400%. the manufacturing base had been decimated since that time. the world has changed since then. while it is relevant to you, it is not relevant to most americans traveling today. secondly, i have seen this in your town hall meetings. you continue to castigate canada and other countries with single payer. well, canada is number six in life expectancy. japan, where i live for six years, as the second best left fantasy. -- has the second-best life expectancy. they are also driving down costs. guest: well, go to england, where people who do not live as long if they have cancer. canada, where you have to wait
three months to have an mri. why do so many people come across the border to get an mri? why do you have to wait in line to have hip and knee replacement? government-run plant have certain amounts of dollars they will spend on health care. when that does not go far enough, they will raise it. what we are trying to do here for the 50 million people who do not have health insurance is to give them a choice, by putting them in private insurance plans. that is why we do not want a public option. every expert says tens of millions of people -- the lowest level i have seen is 83, the highest, 120 -- will be pushed
out of their health care plan into a government plan. when you do that, sooner or later everyone premiums will go up, people will opt-out, and then you will have what the congressman from illinois said, to a group wanted canadian-style single payer -- we need a public option first because the american people will not go from here to but they have in canada immediately. there needs to be an interim. i do not think the government does a good job running the postal service, for instance, so should they be running health care? host: thank you for being with us, senator grassley. coming up, democratic representative chris van hollen of maryland will continue our conversation. we will be right back.
>> the supreme court has a special session tomorrow, and during the oral arguments on a campaign finance case. it also marks the first appearance on the bed from justice sonia sotomayor. here is chief justice robert on what it is like for a new justice. >> to some extent, it is unsettling. you quickly review the court says the court, as opposed to members, and it is hard to think of involving anyone else, like their families. how can it be different? but you do get new arrivals in each of those situations. it is a tremendous sense of loss. when the court gets a new member, it changes everything, everybody. simple changes. we move the seat to around in
the court room. they are in order of seniority. the same thing in the conference room. more fundamentally, and cause you to take a fresh look at how things are decided. new members have a particular view about how issues should be addressed that could be different from what we have been falling for some time. so is an exciting part of the court. >> hear from other justices during supreme court week. host: chris van hollen, and democratic congressman from maryland, thank you for being with us. so much of the discussion in health care is happening in the said. tell us about the house. are we going to see movement soon? guest: the house is a little bit ahead of the senate.
all three of our committees have reported bills and they have acted on the bills. when we come back, we are going to listen to our members who have been talking to their constituents around the country, and then merge the three bills from committee, and that's what we might, based on the conversations that we have been having. host: the democratic party has many faces right now, blue dog democrats, conservatives, progressive democrats. they all have different goals in health care. how are you merging their interests? guest: they do have one goal in, and of passing health care which preserves what is working best in our system that fixes what is not. one thing that is clear, from communication from my members, is that they come away with these meetings believing that the great majority of the people in the country recognize we can
strengthen and improve our health care system. doing nothing is not an option. too many people who correctly have insurance are seeing their premiums go through the roof and they cannot afford them. then we have millions of americans who do not have coverage which not only mean that they cannot get coverage, but the costs of us all at the end of the day when their first line of health care is the emergence room. host: the idea has been floated to let the senate act first, and that not the house wait. -- and then let the house wait. they may not have to put themselves in line as much if things are ironed out in the senate first. guest: it is a dynamic process and we are going to see how things work out. as you heard from senator grassley, the so-called gang of six, hopefully, they can come
to an agreement. obviously, we will try to coordinate our activities and but i do not think anybody said one body had to go first. host: would it be less risky for someone your vulnerable members if the senate went first? guest: the most risky thing would be not passing health care reform this year. again, the great majority of people in the country want to see some important changes made in the health-care system. i think it is less important who goes first, who goes second, as long as at the end of the day we get a bill to the president. host: sean from long island. good morning. caller: i wanted to make a statement, with a question. over the years, republicans have always had a message.
whether or not we support it, they managed to always go lockstep with the president, no matter what the public says. we need to take a page from that and start listening to the president, put a plan in place, and give the people what they want. do not continue to let distractions to denigrate what we want. we need to stick together, blue dogs, all of us. when you go back to congress, that is what i wanted to say. guest: we will be having a meeting of house democrats tomorrow before we hear the president's address to a joint session of congress. the great majority of members in the house are coming back to congress wanting to move forward on health care. there may be some differences as to the best way to do it, but a big distinction right now between house democrats and
republicans is that house democrats believe we need to move forward and fix the problems in health care system, again, preserving what is best in the system. if you like what you have got, you can keep it. if you do not, or do not have any insurance, you will be given other options. the republicans coming having said that they will be presenting an alternative, to this day, have not. i think is an indication that, unfortunately, at least in the house, they do not have an alternative for it -- to present, nor do they have one in the senate, with respect to leadership. the gang down six are discussing several plans, but we have not seen any proposal put forward. host: what about co-ops?
do you feel like losing the public option would be a deal breaker? guest: i think the public option is certainly much stronger of an endeavor. co-op models do not really get that many people enrolled in them. maybe someone has an idea of how we can do that better, but even some of the largest co-ops are much smaller than some of the smaller insurance companies. our idea is to provide greater competition and greater choice. i think there have been a whole lot of misinformation in this debate. it is exactly as it to just, -- suggests, an option. this notion that somehow the public option is going to swallow up the private plant is totally refuted by the cbo
analysis that projected forward to the year 2019. they looked at all of the interrelationships in the house bill and concluded that more americans today would be on private insurance through their employer and 30 million americans put off into the exchange. in other words, going into the supermarket and buying their policy. of those 30 million, two-thirds would choose to buy their health care option. one third, the public option. so it is provided for choice. in some parts of the country you have one or two private insurance carriers dominating the market, so there is no surprise that the companies do not want more choice. we think it is important, however. host: ron from syracuse, new york. good morning.
caller: i've been calling since senator grassley was on because he angered me so much. i am for the single payer option. it is the only thing that makes sense. the best studies say that it will add about 2 million jobs to the work force. the problem is, from 2000 to 2008, health insurance premiums went up 1078%. at the same time, the top 10 insurance companies increased their profits by 450%. that means the reason we are suffering now, the reason we are in is held -- we are in a health care crisis is simply because they took the money and ran. guest: those statistics are exactly right, and we have been
citing them as a good reason why we need a public option to create more competition and choice. as the president said, if we were starting from scratch, maybe single payer is something we would consider it. but i agree at this point it would be way too disruptive. at least we have a platform of systems. we have medicare which already covers 45 million americans, and is working pretty well. there are always lost, and things to improve on, and we need to get cost and contained fees under control, but we have medical care. we have care for our veterans through the veterans hospitals, as well as tricare. so we have to build on that foundation and fill a major gap, about 45 million americans who are not covered, and improve the stability and coverage of the program that people already have.
fixing what is broken and building up on that platform is the best way to go forward. certainly from a political perspective, it is the best way to assure the president -- to keep the president's assurance that if people do not like what they have, there is a better option. host: next phone call. caller: as always, thank god for c-span. first of all, we saw on many television shows congressman barney frank say a public option is nothing but a segue to a single payer system, which the american people do not want. we do not want the canadian system i take what senator grassley said earlier to be the absolute truth. there is a whole chain of
hospitals near the border of canada on the american side that take care of all of these people who are not being taken care of by the canadian health-care single payer system. guest: i would again go back to the analysis from the nonpartisan cbo. sometimes we like their numbers, sometimes we do not, but we live with their analysis because they are an independent organization on the budget. they looked at all the interaction of within the plan and concluded by the year 2019, apart from having the public option swallow up all these plants, of the 30 million americans in the exchange, at only 10 million would go for the option. let me explain why. there are limitations in the bill with respect to the public option. it is circumscribed in a way not to give in an unfair advantage
over private insurers. the public option would have to pick its own way as well through the premiums it collects. it has to live by the same rules as any other insurance plan. people coming in with pre- existing conditions will have to be covered under this injured reform plan. so because of those -- insurance reform plan. so because of those reasons, it will be an even playing field. its goal will not be to generate a profit for shareholders, and it will provide greater competition and choice. but again, from the cbo cost analysis, it will not swap -- sbo's analysis, it will not -- cbo's analysis, it will not get
rid of the other options. caller: why are americans such wee-wees? in other countries they will do what is necessary to get what they want. we are going to get nothing from these people because our democracy has been nullified by the corporate mentality. guest: i think there is a very lively debate going on in the country. we have seen a lot of vigorous debate at these town hall. i do not think anyone is being sheepish about this. we are going to have a good kick off with around two when the president addresses the joint session of congress. i do not think anyone is coming back, at least on the democratic side, with the notion of going quietly into the night. we are ready to roll on our
sleeves and get to work and we are convinced that we can get a bill to the president by the end of the year. host: on the republican line. howard. caller: in the 1970's, probably when you were in high school, legislation was passed and that actually gave the states the right to control their own insurance policies. do you have any knowledge of this? guest: yes, i am aware. caller: you made the statement that the 10 largest insurance companies in the country would not cooperate. i am a republican, number one, small government. i could care less what these insurance companies want. if you want to pass legislation that will make a difference for everyone in the health-care system, you need to eliminate
this type of legislation, opening up insurance companies to the free market. this country was built on free markets, not on socialism. guest: the health-care package changes are designed to open up the market to greater competition. again, you would have a national exchange that would allow insurance companies to put up their products, sell their products on the national exchange, compete on cost for the same benefit package. also allow them to provide additional benefits packages with added benefits, beyond the basic one and would increase competition. that is one of the reforms in the bill. right now in the country if you lose your job, you often put your health care at risk, to the
extent that people get health care predominately from their job. this would allow them to purchase a policy in the exchange. so the whole purpose behind creating this greater competition is to increase was for consumers along the lines that you suggested would be best. host: egypt on the democratic line. cold spring, kentucky. caller: thank you for being on here. i wanted to correct something that senator grassley said in the last segment. he said you have to wait six months in britain and canada for -- if you have cancer, which is a total -- well, you can call it in this calculation, or whatever, but it is just a lie. the health care ambassador from england was on c-span sunday
morning. the reason he came over to be on some of these shows is because of the lies that are being told in the country, and i senators noe less. i was a 44-year registered republican, and i did not believe them. they left me. -- and senators no less. guest: there have been many examples that, for example, in the house we are going to grieve the death panels. the notion that this would cover people who were here illegally. notion that this would cut medicare benefits. all of it is nonsense. the dialogue that we have been able to have, both in terms of c-span coverage and town hall
meetings, has at least allow us to put out some of these myths and talk about the facts. let me say with respect to health care systems in other countries, it seems to me we should look at those systems, a figure out what could work, what does not work, and decide what may or may not want to borrow. the fact we did not have the idea first does not mean that we should not borrow some ideas. we can also learn from some mistakes that were made. at the end of the day, we want to have a uniquely-american solution. to do that we need to look at countries around the world and stayed within our own country, in terms of experiments that have worked with health care, and what has not, and do what is best. host: minnesota. caller on the independent line.
caller: with all due respect, i have a comment i want to make. then i have a question. my first comment is, our government is corrupt to begin with. i am not saying that you are, but our government is ripping us off of billions of dollars in iraq, afghanistan. the government runs a corrupt medical system in the country, as it is right now. host: we do not have a lot of time, so please proceed with your question. caller: until we can straighten out the government and all of that, my question is, how are we supposed to have the correct program on health care? there are other things that need to be corrected first.
guest: well, 45 million americans today get their coverage through medicare, which i believe has been hugely successful. obviously, there are instances of fraud, waste, and abuse, and we need to get to the bottom of that where it occurs in medicare. those people should be put behind bars. social security, it is a government-run program that has kept millions of americans and seniors out of poverty. children's health programs. i believe the government, when at its best, is a reflection all of us. this is a democracy. it is imperfect, but when it is working well, it does reflect the desires of the american people. when you have got a program
like social security, medicare, it is a reflection that the american people understand there are certain areas where the government has a legitimate role. there are other areas where it does not. of course, our country is based very much on self-reliance, on personal responsibility, and that remains. but there are some things that we can do best when we work together and understand that we are stronger when we work together. it is in those areas where the government plays an important and legitimate role. host: in addition to representing maryland, you are part of the democratic campaign committee. there has been talk about potential losses coming up. guest: it will be a tough election season. we have a new president.
that president's party typically loses seats in the first midterm election. since abraham lincoln was president, there have only been two elections in history where the president's party has gained seats. that was under roosevelt and george bush. so we let our members know early on that historic week, this was going to be a challenging year. what the american people will judge their individual members of congress and their parties by is whether or not we are working hard, and successfully, to turn around the economy. that is why the first order of business for the president was to pass an economic recovery plan. the freefall in our economy has stopped and is beginning to stabilize. unemployment will be the major thing that people look at. on the republican side, they have simply said no to
would agree with you totally. let me ask you, why has tort reform not been addressed? and i need an answer from you. here is one thing i can tell you, evasive and this is the first step down the path of corruption. so, please, answer the question. why will the democrats not answer this issue? although, i also know that the association of american justice, which is all lawyers, give them over 90% of all of their campaign funds, to the democrats. guest: i would be happy to enter your question. i come from the state of maryland and we did have tort reform in the state of the maryland. secondly, as the president said to the american medical association, he is open to ideas on tort reform. we should look at all pieces of that issue. that having been said, it is also important not to exaggerate
the extent to which tort reform will fix the problem in our health care system. the congressional budget office has said that tort reform would be very small impact in terms of costs. secondly, if you look at states were studies have been done, for example, the state of texas. people looked at different towns in the state of texas with similar populations and from that -- and found that in one town you had huge medical expenses going through the roof and in another town you did not. it had a lot more to do with the culture of the medical practices in those particular areas because, of course, this state of texas has one set of tort reform laws and they are very strict. finally, we want to make sure that as we look at toward reform will not take away the
rights of individuals -- as we look at tort reform, we not take away the rights of individuals. if they go into the hospital and hospital takes up the wrong kidney, or in many other cases were just providing economic damages may not necessarily deal çwith the full loss of qualityf life when people become crippled or injured because of negligence. i do not think any american wants to say that, if you go into the hospital and you are hurt as a result of negligence, that you should be denied the opportunity to seek some redress. at the same time, to the extent that tort reform of the margins could be helpful, i think that we should look at it. i think we should not say no to anything. in fact, in the energy and commerce committee in the house, there was a piece of
legislation requiring the when cases filed in court, that a certificate of merit be filed by a doctor, by a physician. that is one thing being looked at, but it should be part of the conversation, i agree with you. host: we have a democratic caller from maryland, lorna, go ahead. caller: good morning, representative chris van hollen. corrine nice to speak with you this morning. -- a very nice to speak with you this morning. i want to speak with you about the public option and i want to make some suggestions to the democrats because we need to start standing up a little stronger. i have worked in d.c. all of my adult life and i see how the different trends from one party going in and won going on have taken an effect on all of our lives.
starting with reagan, mr. of the destroying of the health- care system, we have got to start -- but we have got to stop allowing the republicans to push over our party with lies and gambling us out of things the our rights -- things that our rights for the people. -- and bamboozling us out of things that are the rights of the people. what the government has done is that it has deteriorated government jobs. and now, public contractors will those jobs. -- hold of those jobs. these public companies have shrunk the government and i believe they would just try to get rid of the government and then it would own this country on their own. guest: first, let me say when
president obama was sworn into office he said he wanted to reach across the aisle and work with republican members of the house and senate. he has been true to his word. he has worked very hard to accomplish that. but of course, when you put out your hand, you need somebody else to shake it. so far on many of these very important issues, unfortunately, the republican leadership in the house and senate has refused to try to work together to get things done. it started out early on when the president proposed the economic recovery plan to begin to stop the freefall in the economy and stabilize things. in the house of representatives, not a single republican support of that. in the house of representatives, the republican leader voted against credit card reform to protect consumers against credit-card abuses. unfortunately, the president has not in most cases, unable to
find a partner on the republican side. -- been able to find a partner on the republican side. he is still trying. but at some point, you cannot allow progress to be held hostage to bipartisanship if the of their side is unwilling to compromise. the president's -- if the other side is on loan to government -- if the other side is unwilling to compromise. the president has made clear that toward reform should not bring down health care reform. he prefers to work together, but at the end of the day, he wants to get the work done. just a quick comment on contracting out government jobs, you are right, during the bush administration there was a huge drive to contract out to private contractors a lot of the functions of the government. in fact, they had early on a quota system where they said,
we're going to make sure we contract out a certain percentage of jobs and work. there was a lot of abuse in that system and the new administration is now trying to undo some of the abuses that resulted from the time. host: representative chris fenn on is the chairman of the democratic campaign committee and is serving his fourth term. we'll be back with more of your calls. non-a news update from c-span radio. >> is 9:09 a.m. eastern time. officials and afghanistan city election shows that president karzai has 54% of the vote, surpassing the resto -- surpassing the threshold. and meantime, bombs have killed four american soldiers in northern iraq and baghdad. in an hour, here and update from army general, richard-live at 10:00 a.m. on c-span radio.
defense secretary robert gates is regard to the arab world on aljazeera, arabic, and english networks. the secretary says he has been wanting to sit down with aljazeera for a while. the hour-long program will be repeated i. democratic congressman ed markey says he now must weigh where he can make the greatest impact on the issues facing the people of massachusetts. congressman markey is the most senior member of the massachusetts and new england house delegations and is the chairman of the select committee on energy. finally, the federal reserve releases figures today on consumer credit for july that will provide information on how much americans are using their credit cards as well as other sources of credit. those are the headlines are seized on radio. >> "washington journal" continues. host: coming up about 20 minutes we will have a neil mccluskey you're talking about president
obama's address to the students. for now, what do you want to see congress tackle after health care? what are the top priorities you see coming up in the next several weeks? it was a call on these lines. democrats:(202) 737-0002 republicans:(202) 737-0001 independents: (202) 628-0205 we will also feel your e-mails and we are on twitter. what are your priorities that you want to see congress tackle after health care? we have a story in the open for usa today" in today's edition, looking at board issues have taken a backseat to health care. john fritze writes that many pending issue, such as, change and new wall street regulations are priorities for president obama, but have nonetheless had to compete for attention as the administration and lawmakers
were to pass health care by the end of the year. the article goes on to talk to some folks about what they would like to see tackled. and then farther on down the story, climate change legislation, meanwhile, has twice been delayed in the senate after narrowly passing the house in june. 4ñ;ñare those topics that ye on your crary list as congress gets back to work in washington today? let's go to ed on the democrats' line calling from saginaw, michigan. hello, ed. ed, are you with us? i think we just lost him. let's go to rachel on the republicans line calling from california.
caller: thanks for taking my call. first, i have to say that obama has to give firm with israel in stopping israel from building the settlements and pushing for the war with iran as well. just go to america-hijacked.com and you will see what motivated the 9/11 attacks. host: this "usa today" and article talks about a couple of parties, including immigration.
let's go to james on the independent line calling from collins, mississippi caller-- m. caller: good morning, the problem i have with this administration and the hope that i have before barack obama is this -- that i have for barack obama is this, that when we say we are a nation of all americans and all americans voted for him, i do not care what your ignorant background is. the reason they voted for president barack obama is because of the previous administration. the reason the people voted for
him is because they wanted to change. the reason they voted for him is because the young people of this country saw that their vote could count. now here we are in the eight, or the seventh month of his term and he is being treated like he is someone of criminal and a racist -- some kind of criminal and a racist. i mean, it is sad to see what is going on in this country today and you see people killing each other, family members died, people losing their mind. when you see people -- preachers' coming on tv talking about killed as president, he needs to die, you know, this is a sad day in america. we just lived five years of cure corruption and hate. right over there in iraq, you had people dying because of a war that was not justified.
can i finish? and it was not justified and now president barack obama wants to put that behind him. host: let's go to tim on the democrats' line in erie, michigan. caller: my name is kim. host: welcome. caller: after health care, i'd like to see education taken up. we need the repeal of the no child left behind, or at least fund it. a lot of these public schools are really struggling across the country to keep our kids educated. after that, i would like to see green technology take front and center. we need to get green jobs going in this country and we need to clean up the planet. have a nice day. host: with a to john on the republican spline from delray beach, florida. caller: i am a firm believer in the constitution and the
constitution states that the president should have a cabinet which basically runs the country. i believe that the appointment of green is ours and automobile stars and all of these as ours that are doing all of these things, that he should not be appointing czars. he should let his cabinet do what it does for the country. i think he should be following the constitution. host: we have a piece in "ceq weekly" that both of the progressive agenda and how progressive are sharing in ticking off the items they had on their list. and looks at such things as the financial crisis, the economic stimulus bill signed into law in february, children's health -- health insurance or the schip bill, that was expanded and signed into law on february. other things i guantanamo bay are on hold.
other things that are on hold, a union organizing, which is awaiting senate house action -- senate and house action. what is your priority? let's go to a camera on the independent line calling from san francisco. -- let's go to tarmara on the democrats' line -- independent line conferenccallim san pentico. caller: i think we need to look at the unemployment. there is a hard core of unemployment in the u.s. right now. i think it to should focus on older workers, workers with disabilities, workers are of work for more than a year. ç-- workers who are out of work for more than a year.
host: susan in milford, conn., democrats line. caller: i'm calling about the need karen ferguson act in 1945 that allowed insurance companies and major league baseball to be specifically excluded. this has not been discussed in debate. there has been bipartisan effort to try to repeal this act. it has been called blatant collusion. patrick leahy has tried to -- and there has been bipartisan. gene taylor and struck the years there has been an attempt. but " frankly, until there is -- but quite frankly, until we get people talking about this, we are not going to have health care reform because they are allowed to trade information. they are allowed to exclude
competition. and it is all legal appeared they are the same exemption as major-league baseball. i think it is time that people start looking into my new show the problem because if we do not, we will not eliminate -- into the my newminutia of a problem because if we do not will not eliminate appeareit. host: next caller from california, james. caller: they have come back here to push the war with iran for israel and give obama grief when he tries to stand up against the settlements. netanyahu has said he will build 400. and we are using aipac money, which is basically a front for the assistance and to israel. the where we talking about this?
-- why aren't we talking about this? host: the to richard from canton, ohio. caller: i wish c-span would get somebody on the air that understands were the political money is going either on health care or the cat and trade bill. it seems to me the name players in this have been -- the main players in this have been very quiet. who is taking the money and where is it going? host: king a look at some of the headlines from newspapers across the country -- taking a look at some of the headlines for newspapers across the country. the arizona republic has a story, 10,000 working parents to lose health insurance because the state is unable to provide matching funds for federal program. in connecticut, seeking a cure,
looking at how to fix the health care. and let's take a look at denver. a responsibility to yourself, the post lead story is about president barack obama's address to students, which c-span will broadcast live today at noon eastern time. and the post looks at how today's much debated speech to school kids, the president is planning to steer clear of politics. let's take a look of one more, from canada, looking also a president obama. the salesman in chief back in campaign mode, they are talking about his joint address to congress tomorrow. also, the conversations which schoolchildren today and his speech yesterday in ohio marking labor day. let's go to susan on the democrats' line calling from fayette fill, carolina -- north carolina. caller: i hope they make it
illegal for big business to get big money and they would have to get it from a week, the people, because they work for us, not for a big corporation. i think it is a slush fund type stuff. number two, ever since 9/11, we have had an invasion of illegals. they have ordered the welfare office to help them. they are taking our jobs. we need to set up a gear because of those two subjects. host: ann is calling in from new jersey on the republicans line. call. i'm calling regarding illegal aliens that we have on the country. -- in the country. all of our people originally
came from foreign lands. i am all for immigration, but i do not like or approve of illegals. they come in and take our money. they know exactly where to go and what to do for it. it is not right. if we had a solution to them, we would not have a problem with health care. we would have sufficient funds to take care of everyone who belongs here. like i said, again, i do not think is right. host: norman is calling in on the debt independent line from boston, massachusetts. -- on the independent line from boston, massachusetts. caller: a think with the afghanistan war, we need about probably 40,000 more troops.
people worry how much health care will cost, but when you look at the afghanistan war, plus problems with iran and north korea, has anyone considered the cost of war? host: let's go to alabama were carl is on the democrats' line -- where carl is on the democrats' line. caller: i would like to offer my opinion. thank you for taking my call. host: please go ahead. caller: there is a lot of talk about how far we have come as a country in terms of race, and basically, i do not think we have come as far as we would like to think that we have. i do not think we have turned the corner. i look at all of these town hall meetings and i think is truly
sad to hear an american president -- it seems that republicans mostly do not want the president to speak to their kids. i think that is truly sad. it did not happen when george bush was in office. i think president reagan spoke to the kids. he did not have this big fallout about an american president speaking to the kids then. but here it is. we have the first african- american president and he wants to go out and speak to the kids and is a big problem. i do not think we have come as far in terms of race. i think a lot of this is race- based. host: carl, we will be talking in just a few moments about the president's speech to schoolchildren. the today, we will be talking to neil mccluskey from the cato institute. we have a comment on twitter, one of our watchers rights --
what do you want to see congress and the white house tackled in this session after health care? let's go to debi on the republicans line calling from texas. caller: i have a quiet -- not a question, but a comment. for the gentleman talking about health care. i am not from canada, but i went to an information meeting in sulphur springs, texas last week and we had a canadian doctor who has been in texas for 15 years. he was commenting for the republican side on how poor their health care was and the fact that they did not get to have all their test and stuff done because of the specialists were so backed up. i went home and looked on the internet the next day. i was trying to check into the canadian health care system and whether my internet is correct or not, it said that canadian specialists only work a couple
of days a week because their salary is capped. therefore, if they work five days and take care of their patients, then they only make the same amount of money as if they work two days. host: let's go to david on the independent line: from branch, arkansas. what do you want to see the white house tackle? -- david on the independent line calling from a branch, arkansas. what you want to see the white house tackle? caller: the constitutionç gives the power to experiment with the government a a and different types. why not let these coast or west coast experiment? let them have their own utopia up with universal health care and all that comes with it and see if it works or fails instead of subjecting our entire country, our national livelihood to one side or the other's ideas
and hope that we all survive? host: willie back in a moment with neil mccluskey from the cato institute. -- we will be back in a normal with neil mccluskey from the cato institute. we will be talking about the president's speech to schoolchildren, which will be happening today. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> as the new school year gets under way, president obama speaks to students across the country today. we will have live coverage here on c-span, c-span radio end c- span.org -- and c-span.org here and noon eastern. congress begins the week with a number of bills dealing with federal lands and historical sites. on c-span2 we will have live coverage when the senate gavels in at 2:00 p.m. eastern.
senators begin with general speakers and later today, promotion of u.s. tourism to people in other countries. on wednesday, the house and senate hold a joint session to cure for president on health care. we will have that live on a p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org and c-span radio. >> as the debate over health care continues, c-span's health care hubbu is a key resource. what's the latest events, including town all meetings and share your thoughts on the issue with your own citizen video, including video from any town halls to have gone too. and there is more at c-span.org /healthcare. >> quality-control -- "washington journal" continues. host: new mccluskey comes to us from the cato institute. -- neil mccluskey comes to us
from the kittens to. -- the cato institute. where are you upset about the president's speech today? guest: the first reason i'm upset is that there was a company had a lot of suggestion. it talked about having students write letters themselves in support of the president. they talked about having teachers read specifically to president obama and it talked about, how will the president inspire you? it also contained a things that made people think perhaps this was going to be about pushing social programs. it was only after lots of people felt that way and reacted very strongly that the administration changed the guidance and said they would publish the speech ahead of time. host: let's look at the things going from the education department, items that teachers could use in their classrooms
and things like -- are we able to do what president obama as asking a bus? do you have concerns with those? guest: on a political level that seems very much about pushing president obama. it is interesting that you read a headline from canadian newspapers that said "back in campaign mode" and that is a concern for anyone. would he push ideas that a lot of parents, reasonable parents, do not agree with about social programs and national service and things like that? those are two very legitimate concerns and i think only some of them have been addressed in this speech. host: let's look at this text as well. the white house put this out this week. he talks about his own personal experience and recalls when he was young growing up in indonesia. his mother tutored him in the morning? , giving an extra lessons.
the president's -- triggered him in the mornings, giving him extra lessons. the president said the mine was not too happy about it and his mother would say, this is no picnic for me either, buster. he is sharing his personal story. is that problematic for you as well? he is telling students that the responsibility lies with them. guest: i think a lot of people have said that this could be inspiring for their child and it would be happy to see --ñr to he their child see this speech. on the flip side, you can see how this is building of the narrative of barack obama coming from difficult circumstances, working very hard in school and that is beneficial on the political -- the political standpoint. a lot of this depends on who you are and people can disagree. the problem is, we also support the aid board of education with tax dollars and we also support schools, and you will not get a choice whether you're a kid sees the speech or not and whether or not you are doing something useful if you exempt them from
the speech. host: we also have a line for parents and teachers and other callers on the bottom of your screen. let's go to the first color of this segment. the war as calling from boughton roots, louisiana. -- gloria is gone from bad to arusha -- baton rouge, louisiana. line for the president to do, this speech. i have three children and 16 grandchildren. my children are doing a very good job of peter holmes: or in public schools -- either home schooling or in public schools and at night, teaching their kids in either religion -- and i just feel like obama's background as president does not warrant.
he can do it, but i just hope they do not botched it. guest: there are two issues. the first, does the federal government have a role in education? constitutionally, it does not say. there is an important question about whether the president should be giving a speech about education at all or should he be doing what the constitution gives him the power to do? that said, i do not think anyone minds an inspirational speech. we are all forced to pay taxes for any speech. and even if you look in a speech, there are the campaign concerns and there are talks about, in particular, the president says that he has been doing all he can to push more computers in the classroom, to change curriculum, jeweled everyone accountable. it is a very legitimate -- to hold everyone accountable. and is a very legitimate question about whether the president should or can be doing this. there is a lot that people can
find objectionable. on any level you can see it as a campaign speech. people should be able to choose whether or not they see this, not have imposed on them. but we ought to pay taxes for the department of education and public schools. -- but we all have to pay taxes for the department of education and of the schools. host: let's look at this -- has president have made addresses to school dressed -- to schoolchildren. barbara bush, the first lady, has come out and said this is certainly within the president's right. what is your response? guest: if the president get involved, invariably, even if he is giving a totally innocuous speech, politics gets involved and forces this conflict. if you look at when george h. of the bush gave his speech, the
democrats were very angry saying that this was campaigning and that they should be doing other things. it was a very legitimate point. the president should not be involved in these things. in the very least, it does cause conflict because the president is a politician and you cannot separate that from the office. host: we have a parent caller couple -- a parent caller from columbia, missouri. caller: when ronald reagan came here in the 1980's, my daughter was in grade school then. they turned out the entire school district and stephens college in columbia . someone was reminding me the of the day to go and stand on the sidewalks as this black limousine was driving through. obama is our president.
to me, it is obscene for anyone to object to him giving a speech to america's schoolchildren. guest: i understand there are a lot of people who think this is the president, the president is our leader. you have to remember, a lot of people do not agree with that. a lot of what the president says is very political. flip it around, many of the people were saying that there is no reason that president obama should not give a speech like this, which would have objected if the second president bush had given a speech like this, just as so many people objected when george h. of the bush gave a speech. there are very legitimate -- george h. w. bush gave a speech. there are people who are concerned that it is just campaigning. i do not think you can get around that, nor should we say it is just ok in a free society. people should have a right to decide what their children are being exposed to.
host: last week, the president was accused of using the speech to force his socialist ideology on schoolchildren, said he could find nothing to criticize in its text. this was jim greer. guest: one of the things that jim crear did was he took these curriculum guides and give them a lot of important attention. he said this is going to lead into health care reform, talking about taking over automobile companies, very specific things that you could not reasonably get from the text. now think he is backtracking a little. this points to something very important, you cannot keep the politics out of it. that same article talks about how the administration, this is something that is benefit them -- that is benefiting them because these people are being seen as partisan spirit new cannot separate the plot -- the
seen as partisan. you cannot separate the politics from anything the president does. host: michelle from texas. caller: i am against the speech. for one thing, i have children, i have a job that is disabled. in this city i live in, they do not always except credit forms: my child. i disagree with -- that always except home schooling as a form for my child. i disagree with what he was saying about it always being of to the children. i have a son who is disabled and he cannot read well enough except for maybe three words. i have taken my child out of school and i will teach him myself because i did it before and i put him back into public school. it is not for obama to get help -- to tell it.
are you should raise your children. -- to tell parents how you should raise your children. as parents, we know what we should do. guest: there are very rational objections to this. it is interesting, if you look at the speech, how the president has gotten into the details of everyone's lives. he has given very specific examples of, turn off your exports and also, wash your hands. -- turn off your xbox and also, wash your hands. he has become the parent in chief and a nanny in chief. we have the huge socialization in the power of the presidency that was never intended by the founders. host: dolled is calling on our parents line from ellyn growth, -- donald is calling on our parents lined from louisiana.
caller: of a question of your best. did he have a problem with past presidents giving speeches to students, whether they work republican or democrat? guest: i was just a freshman in college when george h. w. bush gave his speech, stohr was not that involved. -- so i was not that involved. it did not have that much impact on me. politicians constantly use children as props for campaigning, to look warm and fuzzy. this is what the democrats said that george h. w. bush was doing at the time. again, this politics and the conflict becomes very crippling and it distracts us from what the schools are supposed to do. yes, i have a problem in retrospect with what they did. i should add, though, this is
the first president that pushed lesson plans to schools on how they should teach before, during, and after the speech. this is ramping up the degreeçf intrusion that comes with the speech. host: those are not mandatory. those are optional for the schools to use. let's go to daric ofrom columbi. caller: i deal with children every single day. my childrei have children from a very multicultural school. i tell them every day that they can be whatever they want to be. they have to be serious about irrigation and stay focused to be the best that they -- serious about education and stay focused to be the best they can be.
right now, our scores are lower than a lot of other countries. in order to get our scores up, kids have to believe that they can be the best they can be. everybody needs to tell them, from the parents to educator's, and it needs to come of away from the president. host: are you saying you support the president's speech today? caller: absolutely, he is the leader of the u.s.a. and he should be the one leading giving our kids back on track. guest: president obama is not a leader on every issue in every area. the constitution says nothing about education, so the president is not even supposed to be involved in these things. if we have to rely on the
president to do these things, we are in trouble. these things have to come from families and society. the president can afford these things. our education system can do better if we have to choose schools. usually it has the lowest common denominator in teaching because that offends the fewest people. " we need, clearly, and is a list -- what we need,b+[ clearl, and this situation illustrated clearly is to get to learning and teaching the values that we want. then you can get condenses and move forward. -- get consensus and move forward. host: laura is calling on our teachers line from minnesota. caller: he is the leader of the
free world. he is our leader, believe it or not. what kind of school did you go to? he is the leader of our children. they look to him as the president of the united states. what greater honor could we have than having the president take the time to talk to our children? where has this gone awry? eight years under the republicans? guest: i do not remember you as my teacher, but if you were, you sound like a very nice person. the reality is, the president gets his authority from the constitution. the constitution is very clear about limited and enumerated powers. i should say the republicans are very guilty, i think, of helping to push this idea that washington is in charge of everything, including our education. the no child left behind act
really punished george w. bush. this gave the federer lot of power richard not have had. the reality -- gave the federal government a lot of power it should not have had. the reality is, no small group of people could ever know a fraction of what everyone needs to know. yes, he is the president, but i'm just as happy to celebrate engineers, accountants, lots of people who do things that are not political, but just as important. host: we have jim from gainesville, florida. caller: this seems like your kind of afraid of the president of the united states. he is the president of the united states, a very respected man. why can't the kids here what he has to say? what are you afraid of? guest: let me flip this around for someç people.
suppose george w. bush went to all schools in america and said, i'm going to tell everyone that we have to support the iraq war and anyone who does not is an enemy of the united states. -- of the united states? the a is the president talking and we would not have just referred to him talking to our children. can president obama have a legitimate -- can't parents have legitimate concerns and say, i do not want the president saying things i do not want because i disagree with him. just because he is your president does not mean you should defer to whatever he wants. host: we have a caller from north carolina. caller: i do not know what your problem is with the president. when i was in school, our leaders through politics in there, too. the elected leaders of their time to speak to us.
-- took their time to speak to us. as far as george bush saying, you are a traitor if you do not agree with going into iraq, he more or less did that to the rest of us on the news every night. i do not know what you are doing at the cato institute, but you have way too much influence to begin with. your obviously -- you are obviously republican. guest: it is interesting that you say that because we are libertarian. the bushes ministration to eight years of criticism from me. the president is still a politician. shouldn't we have the ability to decide what our children herar? as the democrats said when
george h. w. bush addressed the kids in 1991, we should be able to say that i do not want my children exposed and their time in school taken up for what very well could be a campaign speech? my problem is not that i hate the president or that i made right wing republican or that i am a partisan, it is that i recognize that a lot of people recognize very legitimately that many people do not want their children to have to see this speech and it is causing conflict. lots of people that disagree very vehemently about it, but when we have a system of schools, everything is politicized from what you read to your moutath and this speech has crystallized it for our whole nation. host: we have jacky from florida. caller: i do not see a problem
with the president giving a speech george children. in fact, i supported. and the reason i do is that i am a veteran of the u.s. army, a veteran parent. and i have been a teacher for the past four or five years. if i had known what children and teachers coatroom in the classrooms -- and go through in the classrooms when i was a parent, not to say that i did not support my children because i really did, but all people in our children's lives, we need to support them. and obviously, the schools think it is a great idea. for the president tuesday to our children. obviously, the american -- for the president to speak to our children. obviously, americans chose this president because they want change, which i admire the american people for. i do not think he needs to
campaign. he is now the president. guest: the president presumably will be running for reelection. president clinton used to talk about this, being in permanent campaign mode. these are still politicians. but the other thing that is important that people seem to forget is that even if a majority of americans voted for president obama, that does not mean all americans do. in fact, a very large percentage of americans did not vote for this president and do have concerns about what he will say to their kids. this is a free society and people should have the ability to say, i do not want my children being campaign to or have ideas pushed on them just because he is the president. no matter where you stand on this, clearly this issue has made one thingç absolutely obvious to people, which is that when the president gets involved, politics and conflict
becomes a huge factor in attracting from whatever you think the president might be saying, good or bad. and let's not forget that this started with study guides pushed by the department of education that many people because of many reasons because of numerous passages found it very disturbing. it is wrong to say that the majority voted for the president, or he is the president, we should just let him do what he wants. there are lots of schools and districts that are not showing this. and that is unfortunate, perhaps, for kids -- for parents who want their kids to see it. ultimately, this means we need to have freedom and education -- freedom in education. host: we have a comment from one of our twitter of yours. guest: i do not remember that. he did not come to my school, so it did not impact me directly.
but i suspect many people objected to that just as many people clearly objected to george h. w. bush. the politics cannot be escaped. why should we include that on our children? host: john is calling from st. louis, missouri. caller: i was raised in the south and also in the north. i went to segregated schools in the south. when i went to st. paul, minn. i was supposed to go to an integrated school. even the white teachers told us we could be anything we wanted to be. we could even be the president of the united states if we kept our record straight, did a good job and try to do what we wanted to do. all i see this president doing is trying to encourage children to be the best that they can and all of this talk about the
president making a speech, i am really interested to see you when you were little. all i know is that this is because the man is black and you do not like that. guest: a lot of people have said this about race. but none of this is about race. i have not mention race. it often is short circuits what should be very legitimate debate and kind of pushes people to the fringe. if you look at the curriculum guides where it says to have students write letters about how they will support the president, not what they changed it to, which is education goals, but how will they support the president -- that seems like campaigning. before the speech, the questions were, how will the president is are you? not how might he.
when it talks about i have pushed computers and equipment in your schools, that seems like campaigning and it has nothing to do with race. i think is unfortunate that people have tried to push folks with legitimate concerns about this based on the very real material from the department of education, saying this is racist. we have the federal government tried to control schools and school districts with diverse dwr(t people with different values and ideologies and concerns. host: glenn is from cincinnati -- from cincinnati, ohio on our teachers line. caller: i watched c-span every day. thank you for what you do. i am a public schoolteacher, retired. one of those things we focus on
in my letters and years of teaching, was critical thinking. our students have been dumb down so much -- dumbed down so much in looking at the leadership we have had, or the lack of leadership we have out over the past eight years, just the dumbing down of this environment, critical thinking is so important. i think the president obama's presentation talking to students is certainly something that will enhance their critical thinking skills. over the years, governmentç has always encouraged students to write letters to government officials. the abysses department has been responsible -- the business department has been responsible for setting these letters of to
address the people in these positions. this is something that has been going on. guest: the first thing i would say is, if you look at the curriculum guide, which again, is what started this. this is why people were concerned. the first thing you will note is that the first ones are the pre- k 363. i do not know many pre kindergarteners who have the knowledge or critical wherewithal to think about what the president says to them. i think as you get older, they can. but this is directed at more than just critical thinking. i think that is something that we really need to recognize. again, the problem -- the other problem is that a ultimately, reasonable people have legitimate concerns about this speech, what will be set in it, and we do not all know that students in every class in every
district are going to get a chance to dissect the speech and talk about what the motivations might be. and those curriculum guides, when they said, how will the president inspire you, how did the president and are you? they seem to be pushing people away from critical thinking to talk about, that was great, the president is terrific. host: next call, deborah, from arizona. caller: i am the mother of five children and i really felt as a parent, because we talk a lot about what is going on in the world, what is going on in politics, i have no problem with the president giving a speech. how i feel it should have been handled his pet they would announce that the -- should have been handled is that the president would be talking so president would be talking so that we could sit down together